The detection of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs)-specific biomarkers for
vascular diseases that exist at low concentrations in blood-is a time-consuming
process that requires large blood-sample volumes from patients. To reduce patient
discomfort and delay in vascular disease diagnosis, a team led by Yu Chen from
the Institute of Microelectronics
of A*STAR, Singapore, has developed a microfluidic device that rapidly detects
low EPC levels in blood-cell samples.
The researchers adapted a gold microelectrode array (MEA), previously employed
in cell attachment studies2, for their EPC detection device. A unique configuration
of horse-shoe shaped microfabricated electrodes concentrates EPCs at the center
of other, disk-shaped electrodes through a technique called negative dielectrophoresis.
Measuring the impedance between the horse-shoe shaped and disk electrodes allows
the device to spot EPCs and determine their concentration.
“The electrode design combines both impedance detection and negative
dielectrophoresis functions-which is different from approaches proposed
by other researchers,” says Chen.
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Posted April 13th, 2010